being a mom

I Am Not The Mom I Imagined I Would Be

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mom-and-daughter-silhouetteWith two kids and almost four years of parenting under my belt, I can finally admit that I’m not the mom I imagined I’d be.

I had a million ideas of what my mom-self would look like. Having struggled with infertility before my first child, I had years to think about it. I fantasized about the mother I would become – so much so that she kind of took on a life of her own. She was amazing, this future me. I crafted her perfectly in my mind, convinced I knew what she would look like.

I was wrong. In fact, sometimes I actually feel a little envy toward this woman; this perfect mother I’m not.

It’s so easy to judge the parenting of others before you have kids. You simply can’t concept how difficult the most basic things can be; getting your kids to eat something, getting their pajamas on at the end of a long day, getting them to listen – these were all things I was certain I would have no problem with. I’ve always had a sort of commanding presence; people don’t generally give me a hard time. I’ve often fallen into positions of leadership at the variety of jobs I’ve had quite easily.  Parenting would be a breeze, right?

The problem with fantasizing about the type of mother you’ll be before you actually become one, is that you inevitably forget to fantasize about a key element of the equation – your future child. Before I had one, I just imagined that children were vessels that we filled up with all the things we wanted them to be. If I was patient, they would respond in kind. If  I had a sense of authority about me, they would bow to it. If only it were that easy. I forgot to consider the fact that children have their own personalities and ideas about how they will approach the world. An infant isn’t an empty vessel – she’s a person with ideas, perceptions and preferences. This can be a startling revelation to a new mother whose child isn’t responding to her “perfect parenting” the way she’d hoped.  There is an Internet meme that describes this perfectly:

You’re making it hard for me to be the parent I always dreamed I would be.

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